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Origins of Yodelling in Country Music

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Steve Latimer 22 Aug 01 - 01:11 PM
W y s i w y G ! 22 Aug 01 - 01:29 PM
W y s i w y G ! 22 Aug 01 - 01:32 PM
W y s i w y G ! 22 Aug 01 - 01:37 PM
catspaw49 22 Aug 01 - 01:39 PM
W y s i w y G ! 22 Aug 01 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Garydon 22 Aug 01 - 01:40 PM
Steve Latimer 22 Aug 01 - 01:45 PM
W y s i w y G ! 22 Aug 01 - 01:45 PM
W y s i w y G ! 22 Aug 01 - 01:47 PM
Wolfgang 22 Aug 01 - 02:01 PM
Rick Fielding 22 Aug 01 - 02:11 PM
M.Ted 22 Aug 01 - 02:18 PM
M.Ted 22 Aug 01 - 02:24 PM
kendall 22 Aug 01 - 02:32 PM
Gary T 22 Aug 01 - 02:35 PM
Dicho 22 Aug 01 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,John Leeder 22 Aug 01 - 06:24 PM
W y s i w y G ! 22 Aug 01 - 06:30 PM
M.Ted 22 Aug 01 - 08:05 PM
Armen Tanzerian 22 Aug 01 - 10:05 PM
catspaw49 22 Aug 01 - 10:28 PM
Rick Fielding 22 Aug 01 - 10:49 PM
Dicho 22 Aug 01 - 11:35 PM
Wolfgang 23 Aug 01 - 04:22 AM
CRANKY YANKEE 23 Aug 01 - 05:29 AM
Gary T 23 Aug 01 - 09:19 AM
Dicho 23 Aug 01 - 03:21 PM
M.Ted 23 Aug 01 - 03:23 PM
Dicho 23 Aug 01 - 03:32 PM
Steve Latimer 23 Aug 01 - 03:55 PM
Lee Shore 24 Aug 01 - 12:53 AM
M.Ted 24 Aug 01 - 02:46 AM
Lee Shore 24 Aug 01 - 03:04 AM
M.Ted 24 Aug 01 - 03:42 AM
CRANKY YANKEE 24 Aug 01 - 11:53 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 24 Aug 01 - 11:55 PM
Dicho 25 Aug 01 - 01:16 AM
Dicho 25 Aug 01 - 01:45 AM
iamjohnne 25 Aug 01 - 02:54 PM
Dicho 25 Aug 01 - 03:06 PM
M.Ted 25 Aug 01 - 03:26 PM
WyoWoman 25 Aug 01 - 03:58 PM
W y s i w y G ! 25 Aug 01 - 04:24 PM
Dicho 25 Aug 01 - 05:38 PM
Stewie 25 Aug 01 - 10:29 PM
W y s i w y G ! 25 Aug 01 - 10:50 PM
Dicho 25 Aug 01 - 11:26 PM
WyoWoman 26 Aug 01 - 01:24 AM
M.Ted 26 Aug 01 - 02:42 AM
Dicho 26 Aug 01 - 01:38 PM
W y s i w y G ! 26 Aug 01 - 03:43 PM
Burke 26 Aug 01 - 05:15 PM
W y s i w y G ! 26 Aug 01 - 06:50 PM
Stewie 26 Aug 01 - 08:45 PM
WyoWoman 26 Aug 01 - 08:49 PM
Dicho 26 Aug 01 - 09:19 PM
M.Ted 27 Aug 01 - 12:16 PM
Dicho 27 Aug 01 - 03:28 PM
GUEST,Julius the Yodeler 18 Jul 08 - 05:04 PM
Q 18 Jul 08 - 07:15 PM
olddude 18 Jul 08 - 09:05 PM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Jul 08 - 11:47 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Jul 08 - 01:19 AM
Megan L 19 Jul 08 - 04:16 AM
Megan L 19 Jul 08 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Jul 08 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Anthony 28 Apr 09 - 08:10 AM
Seamus Kennedy 28 Apr 09 - 02:38 PM
Capt. Everett 28 Apr 09 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 28 Apr 09 - 06:54 PM
Mark Ross 28 Apr 09 - 09:47 PM
GUEST,bart, yodel book author 01 Mar 11 - 02:43 AM
GUEST,Joe Arnold 10 Feb 12 - 08:32 PM
GUEST 22 May 13 - 03:12 AM
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Subject: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:11 PM

I watched "O Brother, Where Art Thou" the other night (enjoyed it) and was once again curious as to how yodelling, a Swiss means of communicating, was ever integrated into Country music. Is there some connection?


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:29 PM

Sure, Jimmie Rodgers, the Yodeling Brakeman, and the father of country music.

According to some folks.

I dunno much about it.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:32 PM

LOL-- kids!!!:

CLICK THIS

We can learn together.

See also current thread MORE ONLINE CONCERTS, my reference to Sourdough Slim there.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:37 PM

That Jimmie's right purty too, it seems. (Referencing a photo in his bio in the link above.)

I wonder if the yodel was his approximation of the appoggiatura, portamento, and embellishment of pure melody on melody he'd heard from black singing co-workers-- spirituals, etc., coming out of the African vocalization style.

I kin 'bout hear it now. Jimmie says, "SWISS??? Man, I dunno SWISS, whatchoo tawkinnabout?"

I really don't know. I am sure someone who DOES know will wander in soon! Hope so anyway!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:39 PM

I think it came about either from some guy who had his balls clamped down tighter than a chicken that got caught in a tractor's nuts, or from prolonged exposure to the "WEEEEEEEEEEEEE" at this website.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:40 PM

No, no, Spaw, nice, but-- look at THIS< great website of southern music of ALL SORTS!

Singing Brakeman. Close anyway.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: GUEST,Garydon
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:40 PM

My knowlege is very slim on yodeling as well. However Jimmie Rodgers did have his blue yodels which was later named country music. Which he was trying to cross over or bridge between what was blues and what was to become country music. At least thats what I understood from a Jimmie Rodgers CD sleave.

Really enjoyed that show as well but still haven't seen songcatcher

Gary


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:45 PM

'Spaw,

I don't know why I bother to post. I should just PM you, you know all. Where did you ever find that?

Steve


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:45 PM

Hey Steve, I gotta go, but here's one more find from my search-- maybe you can go over to YODEL CENTRAL, nose around, and larn us back here. Maybe their host can come give a talk in our thread.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:47 PM

Wait! Back to Sourdough Slim! Dang, what a world!

"Welcome to Sourdough Slim's Double-S CyberRanch ... West. How it got to Jimmie Rodgers is the real question ... Sourdough's idol, Jimmy Rodgers, as we all know ... added this weird little yodeling blues refrain to them. ..."

SEE MORE ON THIS

I'm outta here!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Wolfgang
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 02:01 PM

There are many wrong stories about the origin of yodel, like e.g. in the song 'That's how the Yodel was born' and I shall therefore now tell you the real story how it was born:

Two Japanese tourists were walking through the Swiss Alps. They had a little Sony radio with them playing music. When they crossed a glacier the one of them carrying the radio let loose and the radio fell down in a deep crevasse, but could still be heard playing down below. The other guy turned to the culprit and cried as loud as he could:
Holdoodiladio.
That's how the yodel was born.

O.K. I admit it's only for the select few like Joe and Ferrara (Bill!) and perhaps Ebbie and Alex. And the others? Well, just think it is one of these Gaelic messages floating through the threads.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 02:11 PM

One of the really "pure yodellers" was Elton britt. Worth hearing if you get a chance. Also Canadian Wilf Carter, (Montana Slim) and one of the very best...Grampa Jones.

My all time faves, the Delmore Brithers did a lot of "twin Yodelling". Seemed VERY difficult.

And of course, the inimitable (and much laughed at) SLIM WHITMAN."......I am calling YOUooooOOOooo..."!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 02:18 PM

This question about how yodeling, which seems to be an Alpine Swiss tradition, got connected with Country and Western Music, particularly the singing cowboys, has puzzle me for years, as well. Of course, other traditions use the voice break as well- Hawaiian singing uses it, and, there were a lot of Hawaiian singers touring on the variety circuits during the twenties, (and many recordings, as well) and the commercial singing cowboys (and brakemen) may have borrowed from them, and there were probably Alpine Yodelers touring as well--the Alpine Yodeling is fairly elaborate, but the cowboy stuff tends to be fairly simple, as does the Hawaiian--Of course, African/American and African/Carribean music has a tradition of using voice breaks, and this would be an obvious source, too.

As far as I know, it wasn't an element in real cowboy singing--they might have sung phrases like "Ti-yi-yippie-yippie-yay" but there were no voice breaks involved--Of course, popular Cowboy singers often were just pop singers with a horse--

I used to do a bit of yodeling when I was younger (it only works about one time out of ten nowdays), began by copying Jimmie Rodgers "He's In the Jailhouse Now" had a particularly interesting(but difficult) yodel to it. I learned a version of "There is a Tavern in the Town" that had a lot of yodeling in it, I also learned a version of the Hawaiian Wedding Song--but it has been a while since I could manage either of them--


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 02:24 PM

Let's not forget the yodeling queen, Patsy Montana! BTW--Mahi Beamer made the wonderful record of the "Hawaiian Wedding Song" that I copped from--


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: kendall
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 02:32 PM

Not to mention my old pal, Yodelling Slim Clark.

I guess it really doesn't matter, but, Vernon Dalhart was the first Country singer. He recorded the Prisoners song, the first record to sell one million copies.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Gary T
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 02:35 PM

I saw a splendid play (whose title I can't recall) a few years ago that dealt with some of country music's roots. It was set in Appalachia and included dozens of songs. It mentioned yodeling as a means of communicating across great distances in the mountains--a shout wouldn't carry very far but a yodel would, and this could be a lifesaver in certain emergencies.

One character in the play, a traditionalist, took offense at another character's use of yodeling in entertaining. Apparently he found this insulting to the serious and necessary nature of yodeling in real life.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Dicho
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 05:08 PM

No idea who started the country or blues type of yodel, but Jimmie Rodgers was great. Hawaiians have a tradition of high register singing. At the time Rodgers was popular, a number of Hawaiian musicians were playing on the coast and in New York. That could have been the time yodeling hit Hawai"i. I don't know of a Hawaiian singer doing pure yodel now although the high register tradition is still strong.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 06:24 PM

Wilf Carter (who also called himself "Montana Slim" in the U.S.) was one of the people who popularized the yodel in cowboy music, although he likely didn't invent it, unless it was an independent invention. He tells a story of having gone to see an entertainer called "The Yodelling Fool" when he was 10 years old in Nova Scotia, and was so taken by yodelling that he learned to yodel himself. Later on (around 1930) he travelled to Calgary, and found work as a leader of trailrides in the Rockies, and led singing around the campfire at night. Possibly the mountain environment lent itself to yodelling. He already had a singing career on local radio at this point; in the interview I got this information from (Canadian Folk Music Bulletin, June 1987) he doesn't go into how much of his repertoire consisted of cowboy songs before he took on the trail rides, and whether he yodelled as part of that repertoire. However, local contry music shows in Calgary in the '30s likely included a lot of cowboy repertoire.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 06:30 PM

Then of course there's our own Patsy Rue, Wyodelwoman. I mean WyoWoman. Oughtta get her take on this. Yodeling AND bubble wrap. Now there is a yodeler! I told her once she could chuck the 9 to 5 job and live on yodelbucks, but she might have been concerned about having to lay down the bubble wrap as a case for tips. So she is probably too busy on her dayjob to come give us hew yodellore.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 08:05 PM

Hawaiian performers had been touring the mainland since the turn of the century--their popularity really took off at the time of the San Franciso Exposition in 1915 or 1916, and Hawaiian music became a nationwide musical craze--the "yodeling" tended to be simple breaks, often on the last syllable of a phrase, rather than elaborate patterns. I had read that the technique may have been brought to the islands by sailors(The Swiss Navy?) in the early days--

This is a worthy subject for research, there must be somebody who has done it--


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Armen Tanzerian
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 10:05 PM

Well, Jimmie Rodgers was one of the most prominent members of a long chain of singers who rose to stardom by "borrowing" African-American music wholesale and delivering it to a white middle-class public who would never accept the performance of actual black singers. This is an unbroken thread in American popular music going back at least as far as Stephen Foster, through Al Jolsen, Jimmie Rodgers, Bing Crosby (yep!), Elvis, and the Righteous Brothers (ugh). The point of this little digression is that perhaps Jimmie Rodgers "borrowed" the idea of the blue yodel from a black musician he had heard, since African-American music -- and a wonderful singing voice and style -- were what made him a sensation.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 10:28 PM

IT seems that several cultures have developed some form of communication singing, but I'm still confused as to how something that sounds like the trad Swiss yodel wound up in Country Music. Still haven't seen that answered here.........just curious.

And Steve.........I got that site, interestingly enough, from Wyowoman......a fine yodeler as Wizzy said. She had no idea what it was about and I don't either, but it cracked us both up and it seems to have the occasional application in the threads, so............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 10:49 PM

The SWISS NAVY, TED? I still don't believe they have an army....despite the knives!

Hank Snow was a fine Yodeller.

And of course you know who WOULD have been a hell of a yodeller? Roy Orbison.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Dicho
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 11:35 PM

High register singing of phrases has been traditional in Hawai'i, at least dating back to the 19C and perhaps earlier. It could have been indigenous or imported. Not realized is the amount of contact Hawaiians had with the rest of the world. This happened after the breakdown of the old Kapu and societal patterns in the 1820s. Hawaiians were hired as voyageurs, lumbermen and carpenters by the Companies trading in western USA and Canada including Hudson's Bay (descendents still in British Columbia). Dana, in "Two Years Before the Mast" tells of working with Hawaiians who were preparing cattle hides for the Spaniards in California. Hawaiians served on whaling and transport ships all over the world. Some took part in the California gold rush. Other nationalities were brought to Hawai'i to work, among the first (1830s) Mexican Vaqueros to tame and harvest the cattle which had multiplied after Capt. Vancouver left a small herd on the Big Island. The name Espaniola is still found. Later came Canary Islanders and Portuguese, Puerto Ricans and Asians. An English sailor was a trusted advisor of the first king who conquered all the islands (and died with great honors as an old man in mid-19C, being buried in the Royal Cemetery). Whalers had permanent stations in Maui and sailors made a big impression in Honolulu. The school at Lahaina taught the sons of California ranchers and early interpreneurs. Briefly, Hawaiians were exposed to most traditions of music (but the Swiss?????).


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Wolfgang
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 04:22 AM

Swiss Navy (and this time I am serious)

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 05:29 AM

FACT It is not "Swiss Yodeling," it is Hawaiian and came along with the Hawaiian guitar ()steel guitar, dobro, hound dog steel, etc) Traditional Hawaiian music , which you don't hear much of anymore. Hilo Hattie yodeled some of her lyrics and the song, Sweet Lelanni is yodeled all threough the song like (All CAps are Yodeled notes)
Sweet Lela- NII. Heavenly Flo-OW-OW-WER. You are my paradise comple-EE-E-ET. etc. etc. etc.

Second verse, "Royal Hawaiian Hotel"

(first verse goes about the same, biut I have trouble transliterating the hawaiian words of the first verse)
Samo wanavelli meka moya uala
epa kika epa he he meka le AAAHHHH
Mewani late EH-HH mewani le EIE
Ah HEE ah HEE lani late EH EEH EEEEEEEEEE.

Not to be confused with "At the Royal Hawaiian Hotel" which is in English.

Yes there is Swiss style Yodeling also, but the Jimmy Rogers, Hank Williams (Long Gone LonesomeBlues) style of Yodeling is definitely Hawiian.

I used to work for sthe Legendary Elton Britt, weho was one hell of a swiss style yodeler. He gave me the history of country music yodeling BRAVO BRAVISSIMO, Dicho, You added a good deal of detail and specifics to what Elton told me. He added, However, that he combined Swiss and polynesian yodeling techniques. "She Taught me to Yodel," is more swiss than polynesian, as is "Chime Bells". But "Cannonball Yodel" (Which I played 5=String banjo on) is (according to Elton) in the polynesian tradition. Elton Britt, for no real reason but on a whim, according to him, stuck the swiss traditional yodeling in with the predominately Hawaiian stuff . Having originated in Hawaii, this makes American folk and country music yodeling A TRULY ORIGINAL AMERICAN TRADITION. Doesn't it?

However, don't completely trust experts, especially me. Research it, as Good Old Dicho obvioualy has, and draw your own conclusions.

Lorei Warburton, (Barclays second wife) is German speaking Swiss. (she also is fluent in french and Italian) She said that the kind of yodeling she's heard in American Country and Folk Music is not at all like the traditional swiss yodeling shich is used to communicate "Alp to Alp" as it were. So put that in your Meerschaum and smoke it.

Hell, I've got to put some "crank" in my post, don't I?

Respectfully yours (Dicho)

Jody Gibson.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Gary T
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 09:19 AM

We often automatically connect yodeling with Switzerland, but it's no more exclusive to that country than beer is to Germany. The notion I was alluding to in my earlier post was that yodeling is useful in mountainous terrain, such as you would find in the Swiss Alps or the American Appalachians. Presumably someone growing up in certain parts of Appalachia would have learned yodeling as a matter of course. It then became another aspect of life that could be incorporated into one's music.

As to whether country music yodeling can be wholly or partly attributed to this, or to Hawaiian music, or to visiting Swiss, I don't know. The play I mentioned earlier also had a scene showing the entertainer listening closely to a Black American singer, presumably to incorporate that into his music. As Armen mentioned above, this is known to have occurred.

The big picture presented in said play is that American country music grew from the experiences of the people in rural parts of the country. Those experiences included traditional British Isles music, African-American music, and apparently yodeling. It's possible that country music yodeling came straight from these internal sources, with no outside influence from Hawaii or Switzerland.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Dicho
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 03:21 PM

M. Ted gave a date of about 1915 when the craze for Hawaiian music took off. He is correct. I am old enough to remember the later Hawaiian popularity, ca. 1930s, the program "Hawaii Calls" which we listened religiously to on the radio, and the performers of the time who did include (lets call it Hawaiian-American) yodeling in many songs. A more current performer, expert in high register but not a yodeler on record as far as I know (out of fashion now?), is Genoa Keawe, cds readily available. Some of the current male singers still use the break to high register. In the heyday of the cruise liner to Hawai'i, many American musicians performed in Hawai'i and vice versa, and the influence on each other is obvious, as Cranky Yankee says. Cranly has a lot of evidence on his side; I think Hawaiians took to it because their own songs in part tended to high register. Jimmie Rodgers could have been inspired by this cross-fertilization. I haven't mentioned the joke about falsetto singing in Hawai'i being started by a castrated whaler who was trying to imitate the calls of the whales to an audience in Lahaina, but it is about as likely as Wolfgang's Swiss Navy origin (as full of holes as Swiss cheese. (Very parenthetically, I am forced to admit that some of the early performers on the old barn dances came from central Europe and I can't remember the name of one who was born in Lithuania).


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 03:23 PM

I have claimed for years that Hawaiian music was an important primary influence on commercial and popular country music, If you listen to some of the early Hawaiian recordings, the instrumentation and the vocal harmonies, and especially the steel guitar sound, are much closer to the country and western sound that evolved in the thirties and forties than to that of the string bands and traditional performers recorded in the twenties--

Speaking of Hilo Hattie, here is a *cool* song of hers (not like Sweet Leilani, which was a Bing Crosby movie song, for God's sakes!)

Princess Pupule -
words & music by Harry Owens
Princess Pupule has plenty papayas
And she loves to give it away
Now all of the neighbors they say
Oh mea oh mya
You really should try a little piece
Of the Princess Pupule's papaya
Princess Pupule's not truly unruly
To pass out papayas each day
For all of the neighbors they say
She may give the fruit
But she holds on to the root
And so she has the fruit and the root to boot
Zaza zaza zaza zaa---
One bright Sunday afternoon
It was field day in her papaya groves
But I reached the gate an hour too late
The customers were lined up in droves
So let this be a warning
Go early in the morning
And it is true you'll never rue the day
The Princess Pupule has plenty papayas
And she love to give it away
I mean papaya
She loves to give them away

Aloha,

Ted


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Dicho
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 03:32 PM

Cranky Yankee, sorry about the slip of the finger that caused Cranly to come out, I blame my arthritis. M.Ted, as you say the influence is there. I regard it as cross-fertilization.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 03:55 PM

Wow, this is fascinating.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Lee Shore
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 12:53 AM

I'd definitely vote for the Hawaii origin theory. Yodeling turned up in country music about the same time as the steel guitar, which was invented in Honolulu. Traditional Hawaiian music involves a lot of falsetto and yodeling, and although I tend to doubt that there were that many Hawaiian entertainers running around the Mainland during that period, there was the radio show Hawaii Calls, and probably a whole bunch of country boys returning from Navy service at Pearl Harbor and Army service at Schofield Barracks. I suspect that was who brought the steel guitar back to the mainland, along with yodeling and falsetto singing, as in Cattle Call.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 02:46 AM

The Hawaiian Steel Guitar was invented by Joseph Kekuku, in about 1889--he came to the mainland in 1904 as a performer and never returned to Hawaii, he performed, recorded, and taught in both the US and Europe--The first Hawaiian steel players to come to the mainland were July Paka and Tom Hennessey came in 1899--to record wax cylinders for Edison in San Francisco--

They became enormously popular, touring as "Toots Paka's Hawaiians" and featured hula dancing--many other Hawaiian performers followed them--Including Frank Ferrera, who we have discussed in other threads because he was the first studio guitarist, and with his wife, Helen Louisa, was the first "pop" guitarist to have a series of hit records, about 1916---

By the 20's, Hawaiian guitar was so wide spread that when commerical radio broadcasting began, Hawaiian guitar programs were not far after-- WBAP in Forth Texas broadcast what might have been the first Hillbilly Barndance on January 4th, featuring Fred Wagner's Hilo Five Hawaiian Orchestra. WRC in Washington began a program called "The Honoluluans" with Earnest Deale on steel guitar--

The Yodeling vocal styles did not necessarily go along with the steel guitar, though--it was often used for instrumental music, and from the beginning, Kekuka often used the instrument to play his arrangements of classical pieces--

It is amazing how popular Hawaiian music was, how long it was popular, how widely the steel guitar and ukulele were played, and fianlly,how quickly it then was forgotten--I remember riding in the car on Sunday nights, during those cold Michigan winters, and listening to "Hawaii Calls", up into the late Sixties at least--another one of those great music genres that was uprooted by the Beatles and Dylan--


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Lee Shore
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 03:04 AM

Thanks for clearing that up. I had no idea the steel guitar arrived so early on the Mainland. I had an alternate, half-baked theory that the country style steel guitar might have evolved from the open-tuning bottleneck guitar of the Delta. Or maybe the bottle neck guitar evolved from the Hawaiian steel? Any connection there? I agree that the Hawaiian yodeling and falsetto are seldom accompanied by the steel guitar, nor should they ever be! It would sound like a proper catfight. Falsetto and yodeling are still going strong in Hawaii, even experiencing a revival, with the likes of Willie K, who has an incredible range and recently went on tour with Willie Nelson.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 03:42 AM

The question about bottleneck guitar and Hawaiian steel is an interesting one--the first reports of bottleneck(or pocketknife) guitar playing seem to come from the first couple years of the twentieth century, which could mean it was picked up after hearing touring Hawaiians(and there are accounts that one of the early Hawaiian ensembles had been through the South by that time)---And it has been said that slides of various sorts are used on African instruments, so that could have been a factor, but if they came from the african traditions, they would have been in wide use by that time, and so it goes--

Bottleneck guitar seems to have appeared about the same time that the blues appeared--with bits an pieces that appear in other places, but no clear idea as to where it came from or how it got pulled together--The mystery only adds to the appeal--


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 11:53 PM

Gee, when I bought my computer, I had no idea that I would meet literate, intelligent people on the internet./ (there are also a few NQOS, but I can just glance over them to the next bit of intelligent postings) I hope I can meet more of you face to face. I met a few last weekend when I introduced "Blue Water" music to a hardcore bluegrass audience. I met my first group of mudcatters. Oh yes, the bluegrassers liked the maritime stuff a lot, even requested songs on the third day. Farewell to Tarwaithe was an instant hit.

Bill Flagg, an old buddy from 1955=7, produces Bluegrass festivals. He hired me to do cl;awhammer banjo stuff./ (That's the way he remembered me) When we packed up after Sunday's performance, I remarked, "I'd better polish up a few more clawshammer banjo songs for the next fesival". (Sept. 9th, Hartland Hollow Connecticut) Oh no, he replied, just keep doing what you've been doing, thats's great stuff. Maybe I'll start producing "Blue-grass, Blue-water" festivals.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 11:55 PM

NQOS- Not quite our sort.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Dicho
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 01:16 AM

George Kanahele wrote an excellent book, "Hawaiian Music and Musicians" (Univ. Hawaii Press). The guitar was embraced in the days of royalty, about 1872, "by the common people." About 1895-1915, American urban music was strong in Hawaii, "ragtime seeped into Honolulu and engulfed it." "Hawaiian quintets became great favorites." In 1903, Sonny Cunha composed "My Waikiki Mermaid" with English words and "Hapa Haole" was born. From about 1915-1930, hapa haole music spread to North America and Tin Pan Alley. Many consider 1930-1960 a golden age "when Hapa Haole music became big business." Mainland hotels featured Hawaiian revues and the small combos were everywhere. Harry Owens, Ray Kinney and other bands built their reputation on this Hawaiian inspired music. Pictures of groups from the 1915 era show the steel guitar played horizontally, banjos, fiddles, standup bass and 'ukulele among other instruments. Clara Inter, a schooltecher, did McDiarmid's "Hilo Hattie" (Harry Owens Band) and became an international star. The book has an extended discography of 78s and more modern recordings. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the popular music of the period.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Dicho
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 01:45 AM

This is a postscript to M Ted's postings. The Toots Paka group is pictured in Kanahele's book. Ome member is playing the Hawaiian steel guitar. Toots, once a dancer on Broadway, is shown playing the 'ukulele in the quintet, which "headlined the Orpheum circuit". By 1902 July Paka and his group were a hit. Joseph Kekuku was in the "Bird of Paradise" troupe which "was featured at the Wembley Exhibition in London." The bottleneck could well have been a simple derivation from the sliding steel bar on the Hawaiian steel guitar.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: iamjohnne
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 02:54 PM

Gee whiz this is all so fascinating. I had no idea about the Hawaiian stuff. Although I did make a connection between the bottleneck and the Hawaiin steel guitar. I think though of all the yodelers I have heard, Roy Rogers brings the biggest smile to my face and tears to my eyes because he reminds me of my childhood. I just know that yodeling is neat, I love to hear it and try as I might, I just flat cant do it. Sadly too, yodeling seems to be a dying art. Very few new young artists (Jewel seems to be the exception) yodel anymore. Just my $.02 worth

johnne "goin where the weather suits my clothes"


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Dicho
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 03:06 PM

Yodeling has essentially died out in Hawaii as well, but high register ("Falsetto") singing persists. I hate to use the word falsetto- the Hawaiian sound is more like that of a countertenor in classical music. Jimmie Rodgers can still be heard on cd reissues. His Blue Yodels are the peak of the art in America.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 03:26 PM

Dicho,

Thanks for the tip on the book--I am there,dude! Cranky Yankee, I didn't mention it before, but thanks for the Elton Britt stuff--he was a great talent, and, unfortunately, to many if not most people,remembered for just one song--there is a CD compilation of his singles that I just saw mentioned somewhere, and I have been meaning to check it out--keep picking, everyone!


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: WyoWoman
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 03:58 PM

Isn't this an interesting coincidence. I was just driving home last night thinking bad thoughts about the friend to whom I loaned my "Songs of the Hawaiian Cowboys" CD and then I finally have time to sit down and cruise the 'Cat and I see this thread. Very interesting stuff here. I don't know anything about the origins of yodeling, other than what's been mentioned before, but do know that there is a definite difference between the "Swiss" style and the "Hawaiian" style. It seems to me the cowboy songs involve a lot more of the slower style that is consistent with the Hawaiian singers, and that as you get up into the northeatern U.S., you get a lot more of that atheltic, rapid-fire Bavarian yodeling.

And besides, those cowboys were sitting around for hours and hours through the long nights all alone on the prairie, trying to keep themselves awake. What ELSE were they going to do besides experiment with funny voices? (Down, Catspaw, down ... )

And thanks WYSIWYG, I appreciate the compliment. Yep, I'm staying right busy with my day gig these days and haven't yodeled a lick in months. However, I'm heading to Lawrence, KS, tomorrow for a flat-picking contest and included in the festivities is a workshop for shape-note singing that I"m looking forward to a great deal.

Yodeling is a musical condiment -- nice to use sparingly, but a lot becomes too much very quickly. So if you're a yodeler, remember the advice Gypsy Rosalie's mom gave her nearly nekkid daughter -- Always leave them begging for more.

WW


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 04:24 PM

So in your case, WW, a shape note is a squiggle on the line? *G*

~S~


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Dicho
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 05:38 PM

WyoWoman, there is a two tape plus booklet of Hawaiian cowboy songs, "Na Mele Paniolo," put out by The Honolulu Academy of Arts, 900 South Beretania St., Honolulu, Hawai'i 96817. It used to be found at the Univ. Hawai'i Bookshop and the Bernice Bishop Museum shop, as well as the Academy Shop at the HAA. I hope that it is still in stock, it is not listed at www.mele.com. There is a fascinating song included called the "Owl's Lullaby" with a tune that haunts me because I have a feeling that I heard it long ago somewhere. According to the notes it was taken from an old Victrola record by the family of the singer, Kindy Sproat. Maybe M Ted would know its origin. It is sung in high register. Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!/ Who will talk to me?/ Who will answer me?/ Who knows why I sing? Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!/ Who knows the reason why I sing this lullaby?/ Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!. 2nd verse: The owls are flying/ I hear them all sighing/ Through the trees and the curtains/ As they hurry on home,/ With my feet on the limb,/ And my eyes sad and lonely,/ I sing Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Stewie
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 10:29 PM

I thought people interested in this thread might like to know the thoughts of a few 'experts', country historians, on this fascinating topic. I know Cranky says they shouldn't be trusted, but it is worth looking at what they have to say. I hope I am not misrepresenting any of them in my brief summaries. I have been meaning to post this for a couple of days, but I kept getting distracted by happenings in the real world.

The consensus among country music historians – Malone, Wolfe, Green, Porterfield etc – is that Jimmy Rodgers was the connection between country music and the yodel, albeit he was not the first country musician to yodel on a recording – that guernsey went to Riley Puckett of Skillet Lickers fame who recorded 'Rock All Our Babies to Sleep' in April 1924 which was followed in September of that same year with his second yodeling record, 'Sleep, Baby, Sleep'. Rodgers recorded 'Sleep, Baby, Sleep' as his second recording in his first session in October 1927. He was certainly aware of Puckett's recording but sourced his lyrics elsewhere. The performances had little in common except the title and a similar tune. Rodgers' fluid and melodic yodel was quite different from what Wolfe has described as Puckett's 'pseudo-Alpine' yodel.

The record, backed by 'The Soldier's Sweetheart', sold reasonably well for new artist, but Ralph Peer did not call him back to record more. Eventually, in 1928, Rodgers went to New York and telephoned Peer who agreed to a second session. Because Rodgers didn't have much material, Peer decided 'to use one of his blues songs to fill in'. Rodgers recorded 'T for Texas' which was released by Victor as 'Blue Yodel'. As Charles Wolfe noted ' it almost certainly sold over a million copies … and established Rodgers as the premier singer of early country music'. It started a yodeling epidemic whereby for a time 'yodeling became almost synonymous with country music' (Wolfe). Curiously, Victor regarded the record as parody or, at best, a novelty song and marketed it as 'Popular Song for Comedian with Guitar' and praised the artist 'for his grotesque style' (Nolan Portafield).

The following is a pertinent quote from Robert Coltman 'Roots of the Country Yodel' JEMFQ 12:24 (Summer 1976) pp 91-92. It is quoted in Nolan Porterfield 'Jimmie Rodgers' Uni of Illinois Press 1992, p 125-126. I will give it in full as John Edwards Memorial Foundation stuff is probably difficult to come by:

Once Rodgers had recorded his first Blue Yodels, everything changed. His suave, rueful vernacular songs made him the first real people's popular singer, stylistically ten years ahead of his time, breaking the dominance of golden voice and stage manner. All this was not to be digested at once, and imitators often sounded inane; indeed, the typical Rodgers hit was fragmentary, insubstantial, held together by his wry, remarkable personality and the signature of his yodel. Hearing it, one catches one's breath as his voice slips mischievously over the break. Doubtless he was well aware of the yodel's value to his career; virtually all his songs had it worked in somewhere, and he wore each yodel like an old shirt, supremely at ease. In his throat, it shed its Swiss starch and its black inversion, making other popular singers of the time sound as if they were standing at attention wearing tight-fitting tuxedos. Rodgers' yodeling is perhaps the simplest style of all, scorned by many yodeling devotees. But what he did with it was magnetic, inimitable, and not at all easy.

So much for the connection, the more difficult and intriguing question is how Rodgers came by his yodel – and, for this, there appears to be no definitive answer. At one end of the spectrum, you have Rodgers fans who believed/believe that Rodgers invented it. At the other end, the scholars went searching for its true origins. There appears to be no full-length study of this and answers must be sought in essays such as Coltman's and in general studies of country music such as Bill Malone's 'Country Music USA', Douglas Green 'Country Roots' etc. Of particular relevance is Nolan Portefield's biography of Rodgers and Charles Wolfe's essay 'A Lighter Shade of Blue: White Country Blues' in Lawrence Cohn (ed) 'Nothing But the Blues' Abbeville Press 1993. An essay, which draws a number of threads together and is based on the research of Wolfe, Porterfield, Malone etc, appeared in the booklet accompanying an excellent compilation CD titled 'American Yodeling 1911-1946' Trikont US-0246-2. This German label CD embraces various yodeling styles and includes artists such as The Mississippi Sheiks, Riley Puckett, Bill Monroe, the DeZurich Sisters, Patsy Montana, Cliff Carlisle, Jimmie Rodgers and others. The accompanying essay, 'Yodeling in America', is by Christoph Wagner. It was reprinted under the title 'T for Tyrol' in Folk Roots #179 May 1998.

Wagner points out that, although yodeling evolved from indigenous ways of life in certain parts of the world – eg the Swiss Alps and rain forests of Central Africa – it was an import in the USA, Canada and Hawaii. He refers to the close-knit communities of immigrants to America in cities like Cleveland, Chicago, New York etc and suggests that, because of difficulties of communication among the throng of races, cultures, languages and dialects, 'the wordless yodel had a particular strong appeal'. He refers to the use of yodeling black entertainers long before it became a national craze in the late 1920s – Charles Anderson, Monroe Tabor, Beulah Henderson ('America's Only Colored Lady Yodeler') etc. He refers to the vaudeville theatres and tent shows 'where novelty acts such as yodeling fitted perfectly into a program of magicians, acrobats, Irish tenors, Hawaiian string bands and dancing girls'.

Importantly, Wagner notes that the 'black vaudeville entertainers added a new ingredient: for the first time, they mixed yodels with blues and ragtime' and goes on to speculate that perhaps 'the similarity to the falsetto of the Delta blues or the field hollers'. He notes the early use of yodeling in the 19th century by white minstrels such as Tom Christian and Daniel Decatur Emmett, and George P. Watson who waxed his first cylinders in 1897. He draws particular attention to the immigrant communities from the Alps cultivating their traditions with a passion in their restaurants and to the famous Tyrolean group, the Rainer Family who toured Europe. One of the original Rainer Family formed his own band, the Tyrolese Minstrels, and toured America in 1839. In the second half of the century and into the 20th century more and more Alpine musicians came to America. The Swiss-American yodeling star, Fritz Zimmerman, made recordings from 1917 onwards. That is the tapestry on which he places Jimmie Rodgers and his blue yodel. Wagner's brief is wider than 'country music' alone and, except for his point about the yodel and the blues, makes no specific suggestions about the provenance of Rodgers' blue yodel.

Rodgers' biographer, Nolan Porterfield, refers to the 'complex social flux and unwritten history' through which scholars have sorted in search of the true origins of the blue yodel. His conclusion is that, while 'falsetto vocal embellishments were common in popular music long before Rodgers was born, it difficult to know which of several likely sources contributed to his assimilation of the device'. Porterfield's possibilities include, 'at the very least, the classic Alpine warble, the black field hollers and rhythmic shouts of gandy dancers on the railroads, and a yodeling tradition on the popular stage passing back through vaudeville to the roots of minstrelsy as early as 1840, with re-connections at that point with Afro-American culture'. He refers also to the cowboy who, in his romantic manifestations was supposed to be 'a native yodeler'. Nick Tosches has pointed out that yodeling among cowboys 'was no less common among cowboys than fiddling among oceanographers or tromboning among rare book dealers'. Porterfield agrees that 'the relationship between Rodger's yodel and either field hollers or cowboy crooning is tenuous at best' and that 'evidence of cause and effect, influence and reinforcement, is simply lacking'.

In his 'A Lighter Shade of Blue', Wolfe agrees that no one really knows how Rodgers came up with it. He too refers to the falsetto singing of Delta singers and black field hollers and work songs. He suggests, however, that one source might have been closer to Rodgers than any of those – the 'well-defined tradition of blackface singing that had emerged on the vaudeville and medicine show circuits shortly before World War I. Such singing was part blackface parody, part exaggeration, part vocal contortion and part sincere imitation'. He notes that one of the first stars was Lasses White who recorded a song called 'Nigger Blues' in 1916 and later starred on the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930s. He goes on to assert that 'the singer who really developed the style on records and who influenced 2 generations of country singers was a man named Emmett Miller'. 'Although Miller seldom appeared on radio and confined much of his activity to the live vaudeville circuit, he left behind an impressive series of recordings, done between 1924 and 1926, which reveal him to be adept at the kind of falsetto singing and "blue yodeling" that Rodgers later did'.

Even though Rodgers played ukulele in an Hawaiian-style band in the early 1920s, none of the country music writers stresses an Hawaiian connection in the way that has been postulated in above postings. If Hawaiian music is mentioned at all in this context, it is usually referred to in passing as among the many attractions of the vaudeville/medicine show. That does not necessarily mean there was no connection; it is simply that present research has not uncovered sufficient evidence upon which to make any categorical assertions. Personally, I find Wolfe's leaning in the direction of blackface minstrelsy, in particular the role of Emmett Miller, to be most persuasive, but this too is only conjecture. Shelton and Goldblatt's 'The Country Music Story' has a wonderful photo of Jimmie in blackface in the early 1920s.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 10:50 PM

Well. Golly! Beautiful piece of work, Stewie.

In my book of spirituals there is a reference that comes to mind... in one piece, there is a footnote on the word MOURN. "Mourning" was apparently a very special term, not grieving and not moaning, something else-- a high keening humming expressed by a not-saved person in the presence of evangelistic effort and ecstatic outpourings of the faithful as things were brought to a pitch in tent meetings or churches' evangelistic evenings. As I read it I thought of the wordless but so-expressive vocalizations of blues phrases... ("Mmm hmmm hmmm...." and so forth from there to the heights of feelings rising from the belly out through the soul...) and I can see how these things and yodeling might not be so different from the keening ululations of Native Americans in grief or exultation.

Or in the Bible, or in Jewish worship-- that groaning of the travailing soul that is beyond words.

These are sounds we humans just.... make.

Maybe one thing we have to keep remembering is that the human voice is capable of such depth and breadth of sound and expression that to try to nail any one thing as a "technique" is to hem in what's too big to be hemmed.

I was thinking about this the other day-- what if there was a planet where the people had never stumbled across music-- had never accidentallly learned how to vary the pitch of their communication-- had never felt a moan rise to song? What if there were a people who had never sung, and thus had never created music?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Dicho
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 11:26 PM

There is a lot to be said for Stewie's viewpoint, and a review of the lit. is worthwhile. However, the close association of Hawaiian and mainland music from at least 1900 onwards and its popularity from that time on to the big change in taste and styles in the 1950s shaped much of America's music from ragtime to the 1950s. Someone mentioned Hawaiian music as an outside influence, but it was never that it the time frame mentioned. Something that has not been mentioned yet is the importance of The Royal Hawaiian Band in training Hawaiians in the music of Europe and America. From the 1870s on, many musicians and singers got their start with this group. Programs integrated Hawaiian music including the sentimental compositions of the Royal family Somewhere in this thread I mentioned the origin of Hapa Haole as 1903, but Royal Family members earlier wrote songs with English, Hawaiian and even Spanish words mixed together. The graduates of this band, and others they influenced, were "up-to-date" with American popular music and became an integral part in the playing of it. We are really talking about music of the early 20th century. Of course in the 19th century European styles and the emigrants who played it and the American developments in Negro music, are all part of the background, but the fusion of Hawaiian and American idioms around the turn of the century, I believe, led to our popular music of the time.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: WyoWoman
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 01:24 AM

I'm wracking my brain (smallish rack) to see if I have any memory of the African American "yodel" of which several of you have spoken and I don't seem to find anything. What would an example be?

ww


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 02:42 AM

Good post Stewie--nothing to really contradict anything we've speculated on, but more to show interelationships between what we think of as different and discreet kinds of music--It got to thinking, about a picture in a book I have around somewhere of Rodgers and a couple fellows with ukuleles--a smoking gun to me, of course--haven't forgotten Emmett Miller, in fact I have an MP3 of his famous Lovesick Blues just a mouseclick away on the desktop--(Mention of Gypsy Rose Lee is a bit serendipitous, as also on my desktop it the name of the song that she actually sang in mother's show, "Hard Boiled Rose" by Jimmie McHugh, which I have never heard, and am looking for--)

One thing that is easy to forget is that musical theater and the variety circuits probably had much more to do with spread of music, its adaptation, and performance styles, than folk traditional music--

Oh, Dicho, don't know the Owl Song, but I am a bit familiar with Hawaiian Cowboy music--my guitar teacher had actually played with Hawaiian Cowboy musicians, new a few songs and a lot of good stories--

Traditionally, the old Hawaiian music was basically drums and chants--the songs came in the way of choral music, taught by the missionaries, and instrumental music, guitar and braguinha(precursor to the ukulele, with metal strings) from the Portuguese Sailors and Cowboys--A lot of the familar melodies are really similar to familiar hymns--my favorite example being the verse to Aloha Oe, which is almost identical to "How Great Thou Art", so when the Hapa Haoli music became popular on the Mainland, it was sort of coming full circle--


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Dicho
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 01:38 PM

A lot of ground has been covered in this thread. If I said any more, I would be quoting someone else's opinions and there probably is enough wrong with my own. It has been interesting and got me to looking back to some of the stuff I picked up in Hawai'i, and into my small record collection. I wish I still had the old 78s my parents and grandparents had of Rodgers, Owens and others. Of course there were more scratches than music on them by the time they were tossed. The hymns mentioned by M Ted were, along with sailors and whalers songs, the beginning of the westernization of Hawaiian music. Hymns were not only translated and published in Hawaiian, but new ones were written. The high register singing could have had its origin in the old oral history, told in chant. A number of recordings of chant are available, but I doubt that they have much to do with the old pre-missionary chant, so a lot will remain hidden.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 03:43 PM

WW, I will point you to one when I get a chance.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Burke
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 05:15 PM

What about the relationship to field hollers of the rural south. Here's some real audio from the 1940's


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 06:50 PM

Wow, Burke!

I had read, but forgotten, that each individual had his/her own distinct holler, by which they could be recognized from afar when coming home at the end of the day. One of these is included in the link above.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Stewie
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 08:45 PM

Dicho,

I agree with you totally about the immense popularity and influence of Hawaiian mucic, not only on popular music but also on jazz, country and blues. This was felt through the popularity of shows, such as 'Birds of Paradise' in New York in 1904, expositions, touring troupes and, later, individual recording artists such as Frank Ferera, Sol Hoopii, King Benny Nawahi etc. In respect of country music, however, the Hawaiian influence was most marked in terms of the guitar rather than vocal style. Of particular relevance were artists like Jimmy Tarlton, Cliff Carlisle and Cousin Jody. Its influence was felt through to western swing in the work of guitarists like Leon McAuliffe.

It is worth noting that the first mainland appearance of the Royal Hawaiian Band was as early as 1883 at a function for the Knights Templar's Conclave in San Francisco. Evidently, the man who first blended European styles with Hawaiian themes for them in 1870 was an imported bandmaster from the Prussian Army by the name of Henry Berger. An additional piece of music history trivia is that band's use of the saxophone in its instrumention is said to have predated its use in the US.

For a fascinating and informative article on the influence of Hawaiian music on American popular music in particular seek out the booklet accompanying Various Artists 'Honolulu to Hollywood: Jazz, Blues & Popular Specialties Performed Hawaiian Style' Old Masters CD Tom MB123. The essay is by Allan Dodge who is perhaps best known as a founding member of Robert Crumb's Cheap Suit Serenaders. You can find a track listing here:

Click

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: WyoWoman
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 08:49 PM

Thanks Susan, I'll be looking for it.

And NOW I'm REALLY STEAMED at the crumb bum who swiped my Hawaiian cowboys CD. I'm definitely in the mood to revisit that ...

ww


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Dicho
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 09:19 PM

Stewie, thanks for the reference. I will look for the cd and booklet. The saxophone would have been known to European musicians first. Berger was a very good choice for bandleader. He accepted Hawaiian musicians (some of the early ones were from reform school) and used Hawaiian language singers, in addition he was a good teacher and knew how to get along with people from royalty to the rising entrepreneurs and "the common man." I think you are right about the singers; some of the female singers became well-known but male Hawaiian vocalists never had any real success outside of Hawaii and a few hotels. The quintet- sized combo with string players, fiddle and a woodwind player is where the Hawaiian influence was strongest.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 27 Aug 01 - 12:16 PM

I am reminded that Sol Hoopi'i, who was probably the the most influential steel guitarist, was also wonderful singer and master of the Hawai'ian yodel--he began playing professionally on the Mainland in SF in 1919--Hoot Gibson brought him to Hollywood in the early 20's and he was probably the first steel guitarist to play with a Western band--

I was just listening to the Rounder CD Vintage Hawai'ian Music: The Great Singers 1928-1934, which features lots of Yodeling(both men and women yodelled)--an particularly noted a recording of Mme, Riviere's Hawai'ians(the Moe Family) Rose Moe's yodel is the same one that Jimmy Rodgers made famous--also, in the notes Bob Brozman points out that the voice break was used in choral groups and formally taught in Hawai'i in during the late 19th century--'He also mentions that the Portuguese and Mexican cowboys who came in the 1830's, called 'Paniolas", used a falsetto singing style--

I don't think it is any stretch to figure that the Hawai'ians were using the "blue" yodel as an element in their songs long before mainlanders--and that, given that there were many Hawai'ian singers touring the mainland, all of whom used it, that they were probably the source for Rodgers and the cowboy singers, who were no doubt reminded of the field hollers that the were familar with, and the source for the Hawai'ians may have easily been a earlier group of cowboy singers--


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Dicho
Date: 27 Aug 01 - 03:28 PM

It would be most interesting if it were possible to go back to the 1870' and 80s and hear King Kalakaua's Glee Club. I think some of the program notes survive.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: GUEST,Julius the Yodeler
Date: 18 Jul 08 - 05:04 PM

I'm not sure. Where I live, in Central Texas, there is a strong German influence, although most of the German emigrants would have come from areas outside of the Alps. Up north around Minnesota, there is a lot of yodeling that's come directly from Scandinavia. I'd say that Cowboy Yodeling may have come into existence when the Scots-Irish "hill-folk" (from whom I and many other people in the Yodel Belt are descended), who used high-pitched "Indian-like" (and possibly also Scottish-influenced) yelps while hunting (not unlike the mysterious "rebel yell"), moved west from the Appalachians. There, they may have met Bavarian, Austrian, and possibly Swiss emigrants who had grown up with yodeling. Also, in the 19th Century, there were traveling families from the Alps who preformed around America, possibly influencing American musicians.

What I'm wondering is the origin of Alpine Yodeling. It's only natural that there would be yodeling in the Alps (yodeling is also found in other mountainous areas like Norway, Persia, Armenia, Georgia, Tibet, Peru, and the Congo)... But who were the first people to do it? Evidence points to either the Celts (Gauls) or the Germanic Tribes, or possibly a pre-celtic people similar to the Basques. Here I'll state the cases for each origin. If anyone has suggestions, please respond.

Celtic origin: Most of central Europe was settled by the Celts for at least 3,000 years. In fact, the La Tene and Halstatt Cultures are both named after places in the Alps. When the Romans and Germanic Tribes began to spread into Europe, they avoided the highest regions of the Alps, which remained a "Celtic enclave" under the Helvetii tribe (Helvetic Confederation being a name for Switzerland). The Alphorn, an instrument associated with yodeling, is very similar to an instrument documented by the Romans when they began to expand into the Alps. This shows that there is still a strong Celtic musical influence in the Alps. As another piece of rather far-fetched evidence, I have noticed that modern Celtic fiddle and bagpipe music follows a similar pattern to some of the more virtuosic and musical Alpine Yodeling. The Scottish Highlanders also used a high-pitched yell in battle (which goes back to what I said about the Scots-Irish and Cowboy Yodeling). But these are probably coincidence because it is unlikely that the musical traditions of the Alpine and Insular Celts have remained that close to each other after being devoid of contact for thousands of years.

Germanic origin: As I alluded to before, there is also a form of yodeling found in Scandinavia, which is also quite mountainous in parts (mainly Norway). Historically, Scandinavia was settled predominately by Germanic (or Germanic-speaking) tribes, who pushed the older Saami (Lapps) and Finns to the arctic and the east. Around 1500 BC, these Germanic Tribes pushed southward into mainland Europe (although they already lived in Denmark and along the Baltic), and eventually came to the foothills of the Alps. It may be possible that this Scandinavian yodeling tendency resurfaced when Germanic-speaking peoples crossed the flat (acoustically deficient) Baltic Plain to find themselves in another mountainous area.

Basque origin: Yodeling can also be found in the Basque regions of the Pyrenees. It is possible that a people similar to the Basques once lived in the nearby Alps, even before the Celts came. Yodeling is probably very, very old, as it was originally used for communication and herding, but not for music. That is one piece of evidence- but it's pretty strong.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Q
Date: 18 Jul 08 - 07:15 PM

It is said that the Roman emperor Julian, in the 4th century, complained of the wild shrieking of mountain people.

Many groups have yodels, including forest pigmies.

Speculation as to origin, the search for the first true yodel, is pointless.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: olddude
Date: 18 Jul 08 - 09:05 PM

Lets ask Bruce if he will yodel on his new CD !!
how about it


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Jul 08 - 11:47 PM

Ya don't have to be German

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8e8k53YJL0&feature=related


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Jul 08 - 01:19 AM

You've gone and got me listening to yodel videos on YouTube. The variety is amazing. Like this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H9MUwOZ0cQ&feature=related

(If that doesn't work, look for Adelboden)

Community yodeling - it was new to me. For a while I thought the video was showing the audience. Then I realized that they are all yodeling. It's quite beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Megan L
Date: 19 Jul 08 - 04:16 AM

Swiss yodel
Elton Britt American Yodel
German Yodel
Thats probably the answer high number of German immigrants bound to be some of them things like cowboys


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Megan L
Date: 19 Jul 08 - 04:19 AM

Drat I meant to say many hilly places have some form of yodel it travels well. My fathers cousin worked in a quarry at the opposite side of a valley from his home, his wife would yodel across to let him know it was time to get home when she put dinner on.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Jul 08 - 11:02 AM

Thanks for the links, Megan. The Elton Britt video was a new one for me.

Where were your parents living when she did the yodeling? Did other people there do it?


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: GUEST,Anthony
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 08:10 AM

Yodeling was probably developed in the Swiss and Austrian Alps as a Way of communication between mountain peaks, and later became a part of the traditional music of the region. listen to yodeling here Yodeling Tony Clarks Website


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 02:38 PM

I just listened to Yodelling Tony Clark's stuff.

Sounds like he's using Frink Ifield's old charts for Lovesick Blues and She taught me to Yodel.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Capt. Everett
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 03:31 PM

Julius the Yodeler probably has it down as clearly as is possible. Here in Austin we very much miss Don Walser, his beautiful yodels and his pedal steel guitar. They went together very well.

The Appalachian forms are probably more properly called hollering. They still have hollerin' contests and championships along will hog calling in appalachian regions. You can communicate over long distances, through the hollows and valleys, better with those high calls than you can through any normal voice. Particular calls would have particular meanings etc...like come to dinner or I kil't the bear.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 06:54 PM

One theory holds that yodeling was invented in the old west cow towns. The story is that town doctors, such as they were - and scarce at that - had to perform many feats of medical derring-do for which they were only marginally qualified. Picture a barber pulling teeth, as often happened. The first recorded yodel issued forth from a cowboy who had been gored in his nether regions. The wound required medical treatment. When the local Dodge City doctor, who was recovering from his nightly bout with John Barleycorn, offered his tender ministrations, the sound that resulted was overheard by a wandering minstrel, who quickly realized he had a new gimmick to add to his repertoire......


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: Mark Ross
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 09:47 PM

Utah Phillips told me that when he went to play a festival in Switzerland, they gave him an interperter to help him get around. At one point he was on a cable car going up a mountain to perform with a couple of Swiss performers. He asked them through his interperter, how yodeling was invented. They answered in the local dialect and everyone in the car cracked up. Utah asked his guide what they had said. He was told that they had answered, "From shitting in the snow!"

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: GUEST,bart, yodel book author
Date: 01 Mar 11 - 02:43 AM

julius i found your post infored and refreshing regarding yodeling in US and the origins of yodeling. i am finishing my second book on yodeling YODEL IN HIFI and most certainly yodeling originated in africa as the birthplace of mankind. i tackled this a bit in my first book but go deeper in book 2. also the origins of North American yodeling are certainly as melting pot as anything else - native tribes, black slaves, scandinavians, early mennonites, german-swiss immigrants. i also cover basque and north african yodel-like ululations. am interested in peru and tibet. i have many examples of asian yodeling and even latin american but not from either of those 2 countries.


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: GUEST,Joe Arnold
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 08:32 PM

!New eBook!
"A Real Live Country Song" written & Illustrated by Mike Johnson
http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=A+Real+Live+Country+Song

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-real-live-country-song-mike-johnson/1108470057?ean=9781620950463&itm=1&usri=a+real+live+country+song

   What started off as a boring day was suddenly transformed into an experience of a lifetime when into Kyle's life hitch-hiked a real live country song! His fishing trip gone south because his deputy sheriff father had to respond to trouble at the local jail, Kyle decides to pick up some extra hours at Clancy's roadside market where he works as a delivery boy. About mid-day a hitch hiking, guitar totin' cowboy coming from Houston Texas stops by to rest and grab a bite to eat.
   Told in the first person by Kyle, his curiosity and questions instigates an impromptu concert of old country songs and tales that lead him to believe that this ordinary looking cowboy might not be so ordinary after all.

   Mike Johnson is Country Music's No. 1 Black Yodeler and this tale revolves around country music songs and some of his own music experiences. This 2012 eBook edition also contains the 2008 paperback edition's 14-page Bonus Section featuring the song lyrics that inspired the story, some insight on Mike's music career, and photographs of Mike with Bart Plantenga, author of "Yodel-Ay-Eee-Ooo the Secret History of Yodeling Around the World" and photographs of Mike with some of the famous yodelers he has met.

Joe Arnold, MAJJ Productions
www.freewebs.com/blackyodelno1/mikesbookstore.htm


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Subject: RE: Origins of Yodelling in Country Music
From: GUEST
Date: 22 May 13 - 03:12 AM

for more information on the subject see my new book: YODEL IN HIFI: FROM KITSCH FOLK TO MODERN ELECTRONICA. you can find more info at: http://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/4594.htm
plus my earlier book YODEL-AY-EE-OOO0: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World also contains plenty of info on the subject.

thanx to all of you for helping during the research phase of writing YODEL IN HIFI

bart


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